Fire & Forensic
Everyone is familiar with the basic idea of corrosion, it is a natural phenomena in which you leave something exposed to the elements for long enough and it will eventually break down into another, less useful form – and particularly so when metals is convert to rust.
While the underlying science of corrosion is quite complex, and one that keeps large numbers of scientists and corrosion specialists gainfully employed around the world to fight it, the ‘purpose’ (if you can call it that) of corrosion, is to convert the targeted material into one that is of a more chemically-stable form such as an oxide, hydroxide, or sulphide (sulfide).
This conversion process occurs by a combination of chemical and electrochemical reactions.
Pragmatically, it is usually preferred to avoid corrosion decay altogether, or at least delay its happening sufficiently that a material can maximise its useful life . Protective topical coatings, chemical additives and impressed current systems, and other innovative protections are increasingly employed in this battle – just remember how quickly cars used to rust before the mid to late 1990’s!
The rate of decay is determined by a range of factors which include the nature of the base material, quality issues in its production, the environment in which it is placed, the way in which it is used, protective countermeasures employed and so forth. Prevention is always better than cure, and a sound technical understanding of corrosion principals is vital.
AMA have a long and rich expertise in the material sciences and in particular that of metallurgy, the primary focus of most corrosion related claims. Our technical experts routinely involved in such cases including material scientists, metallurgists, mechanical engineers and coatings inspectors.
Corrosion affects a range of materials, not only ferrous metals, but also dissimilar materials (able to induce an electrochemical cell), ceramics, polymeric materials and even corrosion fretting from surfaces moving under load.
While AMA has a solid expertise on all areas of corrosion, we are particularly fluent with corrosion in steel / metal materials of carbon, stainless, alloys, electrical, rebar, merchant bar, wire rod, plate, hot & cold rolled coils, shipping ISO containers, metal failure analysis, container lashing systems, damaged steel pipes and rods, as well as finished products including vehicles and metal parts.
Case Study: Industrial Water Pump & Line Failure
A high speed water transfer pump ruptured while in use, leading to significant localised flooding and an emergency stoppage of the plant serviced by the pump while replacement parts were sourced. The pump had only been in service about 18 months and prior to failure had shown no external indications of defect.
AMA experts attended on site and inspected the pump casing in situ, before arranging its safe transfer to a materials laboratory for closer assessment, where we pursued a meticulous assessment by optical microscopy and SEM, during which we identified tell-tales for manufacturing flaws that by their inherent defect had led to the pumps premature failure, through no fault of our clients (the owners of the pump).
From our expert assessment the pump owners were able to commence a claim for their losses against the pump supplier, who had previously claimed misuse of the pump as the root cause of failure.
AMA Provided: –
- Material scientists (metallurgical experts)
- Mechanical engineers (operational experts)